I just got back from a spring break week in Florida. Maybe it should have been classified as a winter break as this winter just won’t quit. Here in Hanover, NH we had flurried last night! And Killington Ski Resort which is about 45 minutes from the house just announce their plans to be open until June 1st! Crazy no end to this winter.
At least down in Southeast Florida it was summer. Even the condo we rented at Blind Pass on Sanibel Island was running the summer rates. Only in Florida are the rates, traffic and beach crowds slower in the summer times. The weather was in the 90s, the ocean temps were amazingly warm and the beaches stretched farther than would could walk before our legs gave out.
Sanibel is a beautiful island with lots of the land held in preserves. More than most areas in Florida the construction is set back under a canopy of trees. Its very lush. Even a few years after a hurricane flattened most of the vegetation, its all back under the relentless subtropical growing season which is pretty much non stop. There are dry seasons with fire danger and wet seasons but the stuff just grows and grows. The island requires an army of landscapers to keep the jungle from taking over.
Sanibel Island lays off the coast of Fort Myers and is reachable via a new causeway that skips across several small little spits of land that are parks. They each have bathroom facilities and are popular with equipment heavy beach goers because you can park right need the beach. Fishing, paddle boarding and picnicking is popular in this string of parks along the causeway. No need to lug beach chairs or coolers far and the parking is free. So just a $6 causeway toll and you are good for the day.
If you continue all the way to Sanibel you start running into some congestion around the commercial district of the island where you’ll find stores, businesses, restaurants and a very handy Dairy Queen mixed in among the vegetation. Further down the road there is the Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve with a visitor center and toll road where you can see all sorts of birds if you go at the right time of year and day.
Bowman Beach is a beautiful beach just after Ding Darling and was our home base for the week. If you continue down the road from Bowman you’ll go over a small bridge (with a couple of pocket beaches known for shelling) and reach the small island of Captiva and the big fancy South Seas Resort. The road ends at another beautiful beach with limited parking i.e. get there early!
On the other end of Sanibel is the lighthouse beach park which is a great place for sunsets. The beach features the metal lighthouse which is kind of homely compared to New England light houses but it gets the job done. There is also a fishing pier which always makes for an interesting visit to see all of the zebra fish people are catching. There will no doubt be a number of interesting birds such as pelicans hanging around for an easy meal of bait fish.
As a photography subject, the Florida can be challenging. Its just so darn flat! Sunsets are especially challenging to find a good foreground and middle ground element. Nothing more boring than a sunset on a flat horizon of nothingness. The challenge of finding just the right amount of cloud cover is also a challenge. Some nights the sun just seems to disappear at the last moment into a void of clouds on the horizon. Best to scope out your sunset spots and plan to return for a few nights because luck has a lot to do with it. Also bring the bug spray, a tripod and a flashlight because the best colors usually reveal themselves AFTER the sun dips under the horizon. Bracket your shots and play around with the White Balance settings as Daylight might not give you the warm tones you are looking for in a sunset.
Sanibel is a city in Lee County, Florida, United States, on Sanibel Island. The population was 6,469 at the 2010 census, with an estimated 2012 population of 6,741. It is part of the Cape Coral–Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area.